Before the turn of the century, it is said the typical American house had three important books…the Bible, an almanac and a cookbook! Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping was in it’s second printing in 1877 with 25,000 copies printed. The book that I have is an exact reprint of the original cookbook/advice book and was published in 1970. I remembering buying it as birthday present to myself…I was already buying gifts for myself in 1970! Some people simply never change! Nevertheless, I am on the scamper for an original 1877 copy of Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping!
I guarantee that this cookbook is interesting by any measure! Take for instance, the quote on the title page…
“Bad dinners go hand in hand with total depravity, while a properly fed man is already half saved.
I suppose that this quote means that my husband was corrupted by my lack of cooking skills when we first married. Now…lot of years later…I do apologize! I do believe that he did eventually get a decent meal ever so often! Besides…nowadays…isn’t that what Cracker Barrel Restaurants (or rather Old Country Stores) are made for?!!
Turn the page for another quote on the dedication page. It reads…
“To the PLUCKY HOUSEWIVES” of 1877, who master their work instead of allowing it to master them.”
I could take this as my mantra today…I certainly have never wanted my work to take over my life! I always wanted and eventually found a job that “meant more than just going to work” and this is how I personally interpret this quote. Pluck means having or showing courage and bravery. Nothing at all wrong with being courageous or brave…then or now!
In putting together this cookbook, the publishers decided on one distinct aim…“to pack between it’s covers the greatest possible amount of practical information of real value to all, and especially the inexperienced”. Besides advice to the new housewife, the recipes are presented just as “clearly and concisely as possible” to make cooking simple and practical work.
My favorite advice from Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping is the…
***Apples–Keep in dry place, as cool as possible without freezing.
***Brooms–In the cellar-a way to keep soft and pliant.
***Cranberries–Keep under water in cellar; change water monthly.
***Dish–Set dish of hot water in the oven to prevent cakes from scorching.
***Economize–You will never beg if you economize time, health, and means.
***Flour–Keep cool, dry, and securely covered.
***Glass–Clean with a quart of water mixed with tablespoonful of ammonia.
***Herbs–Gather when beginning to blossom; keep in paper sacks.
***Ink Stains–Wet with spirits turpentine; after three hours, rub well.
***Jars–To prevent breaking, coax “husband” to buy Buckeye Cookery.
***Keep–An account of all supplies, with cost and date purchased should be kept.
***Love–Remember that love lightens labor.
***Money–Count carefully when you receive change.
***Nutmegs–Prick with a pin, and if good, oil will run out.
***Orange and Lemon Peel–Dry, pound, and keep in corked bottles.
***Parsnips–Keep in ground until spring.
***Quicksilver–The white of an egg and quicksilver destroys bedbugs.
***Rice–Select large, with a clear, fresh look; old rice may have insects.
***Sugar–For general family use, the granulated is best.
***Tea–Equal parts of Japanese and Green Teas are as good as English Breakfast Tea.
***Use–Cement made of ashes, salt, and water can be used for cracks in stove.
***Variety–The best culinary spice is variety.
***Watch–You need to watch your backyard for dirt and bones.
***Xantippe–She was a scold. Don’t imitate her. (Xantippe was the wife of Socrates…she was thought to be harsh.)
***Youth–A cheerful temper preserves youth.
***Zinc-Lined–A sink that is zinc-lined is better than wooden ones.
***EXTRA HINT–REGULATE THE CLOCK BY YOUR HUSBAND’S WATCH, AND IN ALL APPORTIONMENTS OF TIME REMEMBER THE “GIVER”!
And now…one recipe from Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping…
Two coffee-cups sugar
One coffee-cup sweet milk
A heaping tablespoon butter
Three teaspoons baking powder mixed with six cups flour
Half a nutmeg
A level teaspoon cinnamon.
Beat eggs, sugar and butter together, add milk, spices and flour, mix well; put another cup flour on molding-board, turn the dough out on it, and knead until stiff enough to roll out to a quarter inch thick; cut into squares, make three or four long incisions in each square, lift by taking alternate strips and twisting between the finger and thumb, drop into hot lard, and cook like doughnuts.
Remember…this is a recipe from 1877! The directions are definitely different!
Have fun and enjoy!!!
I love old cookbooks!
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Thank you for the link to my post!!
I love the “Jars” recommendation! I think I’ll pass on the Quicksilver, though. I’ve suffered enough brain damage already.
I wonder how nutmeg differed back then that it exuded oil, and you could use HALF A NUT in one recipe without overwhelming the entire dish? I gotta research that one.
Fascinating stuff once again. Thanks for posting it, and I hope you do find an original copy someday!